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ENCYCLICAL LETTER: EVANGELIUM VITAE ON THE VALUE AND INVIOLABILITY OF HUMAN LIFE POPE JOHN PAUL II Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 25 March, the Solemnity of the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 25 March, the
    Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, 1995.

The Gospel of Life, n.1
  • The Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus
  • It is good news to all people.
  • It is the birth of a child (Jesus) which heralds

The Gospel of Life, n.1
  • When he presents the heart of his redemptive
    mission, Jesus says "I came that they may have
    life, and have it abundantly" (John 1010).
  • In truth, he is referring to that "new" and
    "eternal" life which consists in communion with
    the Father, to which every person is freely
    called in the Son by the power of the Sanctifying
  • It is precisely in this "life" that all the
    aspects and stages of human life achieve their
    full significance.

The Gospel of Life, n.2
  • Human beings are called to a fullness of life
    which far exceeds the dimensions of earthly
    existence, because it consists in sharing the
    very life of God.
  • Life on earth remains a sacred reality entrusted
    to us, to be preserved with a sense of
    responsibility and brought to perfection in love
    and in the gift of ourselves to God and to our
    brothers and sisters.

The Gospel of Life, n.2
  • The Gospel of life has a profound and persuasive
    echo in the heart of every person--believer and
    non-believer alike.
  • Even in the midst of difficulties and
    uncertainties, every person sincerely open to
    truth and goodness can, by the light of reason
    and the hidden action of grace, come to recognize
    in the natural law written in the heart (cf.
    Romans 214-15) the sacred value of human life
    from its very beginning until its end, and can
    affirm the right of every human being to have
    this primary good respected to the highest
  • Upon the recognition of this right, every human
    community and the political community itself are

The Gospel of Life, n.2
  • In a special way, believers in Christ must defend
    and promote this right, because
  • "By his incarnation the Son of God has united
    himself in some fashion with every human being".
    GS 22
  • The Incarnation reveals to humanity not only the
    boundless love of God who "so loved the world
    that he gave his only Son" (John 316), but also
    the incomparable value of every human person.

The Gospel of Life, n.3There are new threats to
human life
  • Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as
  • any type of murder
  • Genocide
  • Abortion
  • Euthanasia
  • willful self-destruction
  • Whatever violates the integrity of the human
    person, such as
  • Mutilation
  • torments inflicted on body or mind
  • attempts to coerce the will itself
  • Whatever insults human dignity, such as
  • subhuman living conditions
  • arbitrary imprisonment
  • Deportation
  • Slavery
  • Prostitution
  • the selling of women and children
  • disgraceful working conditions, where people are
    treated as mere instruments of gain rather than
    as free and responsible persons

The Gospel of Life, n.4
  • A new cultural climate is developing and taking
    hold, in which broad sectors of public
    opinion justify certain crimes against life in
    the name of the rights of individual freedom.
  • All this is causing a profound change in the way
    in which life and relationships between people
    are considered, especially in regard to the
    medical profession.

The Gospel of Life, n.4
  • The end result of this is tragic
  • not only is the fact of the destruction of so
    many human lives still to be born or in their
    final stage extremely grave and disturbing
  • conscience itself, darkened as it were by such
    widespread conditioning, is finding it
    increasingly difficult to distinguish between
    good and evil in what concerns the basic value of
    human life.

The Gospel of Life, n.5
  • "Just as a century ago it was the working
    classes which were oppressed in their fundamental
    rights, and the Church very courageously came to
    their defense by proclaiming the sacrosanct
    rights of the worker as a person in Rerum
    Novarum, so now, when another category of
    persons is being oppressed in the fundamental
    right to life, the Church feels in duty bound to
    speak out with the same courage on behalf of
    those who have no voice. Hers is always the
    evangelical cry in defense of the world's poor,
    those who are threatened and despised and whose
    human rights are violated".

The Gospel of Life, n.6
  • To all the members of the Church, the people of
    life and for life, I make this most urgent
  • that together we may offer this world of ours new
    signs of hope
  • work to ensure that justice and solidarity will
  • and that a new culture of human life will be
    affirmed, for the building of an authentic
    civilization of truth and love.

The Gospel of Life, Chapter 1
  • "Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and
    killed him" (Genesis 48) the roots of violence
    against life
  • "What have you done?" (Genesis 410)
  • the eclipse of the value of life
  • "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 49)
  • a perverse idea of freedom
  • "And from your face I shall be hidden" (Genesis
    414) the eclipse of the sense of God and of man
  • "You have come to the sprinkled blood" (cf.
    Hebrews1222, 24)
  • signs of hope and invitation to commitment

The Gospel of Life, Chapter 1
  • Threats to Life
  • What are they?

The Gospel of Life, Chapter 1
  • Some threats come from nature itself, but they
    are made worse by the culpable indifference and
    negligence of those who could in some cases
    remedy them.
  • Others are the result of situations of violence,
    hatred and conflicting interests, which lead
    people to attack others through murder, war,
    slaughter and genocide.

The Gospel of Life, Chapter 1Threats to Life
  • violence especially against children
  • poverty, malnutrition and hunger because of an
    unjust distribution of resources between peoples
    and between social classes
  • the violence inherent not only in wars as such
    but in the scandalous arms trade
  • reckless tampering with the world's ecological
  • the criminal spread of drugs
  • the promotion of certain kinds of sexual activity
    which, besides being morally unacceptable, also
    involve grave risks to life

The Gospel of Life, Chapter 1Threats to Life
  • Here though we shall concentrate particular
    attention on another category of attacks,
    affecting life in its earliest and in its final
  • These attacks tend no longer to be considered as
    "crimes" paradoxically they assume the nature of
  • Such attacks strike human life at the time of its
    greatest frailty, when it lacks any means of
  • Those attacks are carried out in the very heart
    of and with the complicity of the family--the
    family which by its nature is called to be the
    "sanctuary of life".

The Gospel of Life, Chapter 1Many kinds of
  • individuals, couples and families are often left
    alone with their problems
  • situations of acute poverty, anxiety or
  • the struggle to make ends meet
  • the presence of unbearable pain
  • instances of violence, especially against women
    make the choice to defend and promote life so
    demanding as sometimes to reach the point of

The Gospel of Life, Chapter 1
  • A Structure of Sin

The Gospel of LifeA Structure of Sin
  • This reality is characterized by the emergence
    of a culture which
  • denies solidarity
  • excessively concerned with efficiency
  • a war of the powerful against the weak
  • a life which would require greater acceptance,
    love and care is considered useless, or held to
    be an intolerable burden
  • A person who, because of illness or handicap
    compromises the well-being or life-style of those
    who are more favored tends to be looked upon as
    an enemy to be resisted or eliminated.
  • A kind of "conspiracy against life" is
    unleashed. This conspiracy involves not only
    individuals in their personal, family or group
    relationships, but goes far beyond, to the point
    of damaging and distorting, at the international
    level, relations between peoples and States.

The Gospel of Life, Chapter 1Abortion connected
to theContraceptive Mentality
  • Contraception and abortion are often closely
    connected, as fruits of the same tree.
  • Such practices are rooted in a hedonistic
  • unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of
  • a self-centered concept of freedom
  • regards procreation as an obstacle to personal
  • The life which could result from a sexual
    encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at
    all costs
  • Abortion becomes the only possible decisive
    response to failed contraception.

The Gospel of LifeTechniques of Artificial
  • Various techniques of artificial reproduction
    are morally unacceptable, because
  • They separate procreation from the fully human
    context of the conjugal act
  • The embryo is exposed to the risk of death
  • So-called "spare embryos" are destroyed or used
    for research
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Acceptable if carried out in order to identify
    the medical treatment which may be needed by the
    child in the womb
  • Not acceptable if it is connected to a decision
    to procure an abortion
  • Neonatal Care
  • Sometimes the most basic care, even nourishment,
    is denied to babies born with serious handicaps
    or illnesses.
  • Euthanasia
  • Threats to the Dying or terminally ill, or elderly

The Gospel of LifeThe Culture of Death and
Human Rights
  • There are many declarations of human rights, and
    a growing moral sensitivity to the value and
    dignity of every human being, but on the other
    hand, widespread attacks on human life
  • These attacks represent a direct threat to the
    entire culture of human rights.
  • It is a threat capable of jeopardizing the very
    meaning of democratic coexistence.
  • We need to unmask the selfishness of the rich
    countries which exclude poorer countries from
    access to development or make such access
    dependent on arbitrary prohibitions against
  • We need to question the very economic models
    often adopted by States which cause and aggravate
    situations of injustice and violence in which the
    life of whole peoples is degraded

The Gospel of LifeWhat is at the root of this
  • A mentality which carries the concept of
    subjectivity to an extreme
  • It recognizes as a subject of rights only the
    person who enjoys full or at least incipient
  • Equates personal dignity with the capacity for
    verbal and explicit communication
  • A notion of freedom which exalts the isolated
    individual in an absolute way, and gives no place
    to solidarity, to openness to others and service
    of them, which ends up by becoming the freedom of
    "the strong" against the weak who have no choice
    but to submit.

The Gospel of LifeFreedom and Truth
  • Freedom negates and destroys itself, and becomes
    a factor leading to the destruction of others,
    when it no longer recognizes its essential link
    with the truth.
  • When freedom, out of a desire to emancipate
    itself from all forms of tradition and authority,
    shuts out evidence of an objective and universal
    truth, then the person ends up no longer taking
    as the point of reference for his own choices the
    truth about good and evil, but only his
    subjective and changeable opinion or, indeed, his
    selfish interest and whim.

The Gospel of LifeA distorted idea of Freedom
  • This view of freedom seriously distorts life in
    society. If the promotion of the self is
    understood in terms of absolute autonomy
  • People reach the point of rejecting one another.
    Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom
    one has to defend oneself.
  • Society becomes a mass of individuals placed side
    by side, but without any mutual bonds.
  • Each one wishes to assert himself independently
    of the other and in fact intends to make his own
    interests prevail

The Gospel of Life, n.23
  • The eclipse of the sense of God and of man
    inevitably leads to a practical materialism,
    which breeds
  • Individualism
  • utilitarianism
  • hedonism.
  • The values of being are replaced by those of
  • The so-called "quality of life" is interpreted
  • economic efficiency
  • inordinate consumerism
  • physical beauty
  • pleasure

The Gospel of LifeThe notion of The Body
  • Within this same cultural climate, the body is no
    longer perceived as a sign and place of relations
    with others, with God and with the world. It is
    reduced to pure materiality, to be used according
    to the criteria of pleasure and efficiency.
  • Sexuality too is depersonalized and exploited
    from being the sign, place and language of love,
    that is, of the gift of self and acceptance of
    another, it becomes the instrument for
    self-assertion and the selfish satisfaction of
    personal desires and instincts.
  • The two meanings, unitive and procreative,
    inherent in the nature of the conjugal act, are
    artificially separated.

The Gospel of LifeSigns of Hope, n.26
  • We dont want to give a one-sided picture, which
    could lead to discouragement.
  • Unfortunately it is often hard to see these
    positive signs, because they are neglected in
    the media.
  • Yet, there are many initiatives to help and
    support people who are weak and defenseless
  • There are many married couples who are ready to
    accept children as "the supreme gift of marriage
  • There are many families willing to accept
    abandoned children, boys and girls and teenagers
    in difficulty, handicapped persons, elderly men
    and women who have been left alone.
  • Many institutions offer moral and material
    support to mothers who are in difficulty and are
    tempted to have recourse to abortion.

The Gospel of LifeSigns of Hope in Health Care,
  • Treatments which were once inconceivable are
    today being developed for the unborn, the
    suffering and those in terminal stage of
  • Various agencies are bringing the benefits of
    advanced medicine to countries most afflicted by
    poverty and endemic diseases.
  • Associations of physicians are being organized to
    bring quick relief to peoples affected by natural
    disasters, epidemics or wars.
  • There are signs of a growing solidarity among

The Gospel of LifeMore Signs of Hope, n.27
  • A a new sensitivity ever more opposed to war
  • Finding effective but "non-violent" means to
    counter the armed aggressor.
  • A growing public opposition to the death penalty
  • Growing attention being paid to the quality of
    life and to ecology
  • More reflection and dialogue--between believers
    and non-believers, as well as between followers
    of different religions--on ethical problems,
    including fundamental issues pertaining to human

The Gospel of LifeChoose Life, n.28
  • Moses' invitation rings out loud and clear "See,
    I have set before you this day life and good,
    death and evil.... I have set before you life and
    death, blessing and curse therefore choose life,
    that you and your descendants may live" (Dt
    3015, 19).
  • "If you obey the commandments of the Lord your
    God which I command you this day, by loving the
    Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by
    keeping his commandments and his statutes and his
    ordinances, then you shall live ... therefore
    choose life, that you and your descendants may
    live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his
    voice, and cleaving to him for that means life
    to you and length of days" (3016, 19-20).

The Gospel of LifeFurther Reading
  • Recommendations by Jim Hynes for further reading
  • From Common Dreams
  • "The War on Language" by Chris Hedges, which is
    critical of the use of language in the media,
  • http//www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/28
  • "Bullet Makers Can't Keep Up With Demand" by Mary
  • http//www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/24-4
  • From Fr. John Durbin, pastor of St. Thomas More
  • He discusses how much we really follow Catholic
    Social Teaching as compared to the values we pick
    up from the media.
  • http//church.st-thomasmore.org/octoberpastorspoin

The Gospel of LifeFurther Reading
  • From Consistent Life
  • The Impact of the Abortion Debate on Peace
    Movement Goals
  • http//www.consistent-life.org/abortionpacifist.pd
  • The Failed Experiment - Abortion and Women's
    Rights, Poverty and Racism
  • http//www.consistent-life.org/failedexperiment.pd
  • The Impact of the Abortion Debate on Peace
    Movement Goals
  • http//www.consistent-life.org/impact.pdf
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